Local heroes Way Yes pack Rumba for a killer performance

By: Mel Millimen

I don’t know how to articulate this, but if you were not at Rumba last Friday night, you missed a truly special experience. It was a difficult choice for me, as CD102.5 was hosting the Local Artist Showcase the same evening at Skully’s where Tourist Trap went on to win the prize of opening for Franz Ferdinand on CD102.5 Day on April 14.  

Members of Way Yes posing for its album  Tuna Hair . (Photo by  Nick Fancher )

Members of Way Yes posing for its album Tuna Hair. (Photo by Nick Fancher)

My first thought was that Way Yes may have made a mistake in planning what could be its last show in 2018 on the same night as such an important and competitive event as the Local Artist Showcase. But upon arrival, I realized it was CD 102.5 that might have lost attendees to this show; the room was packed.

When I first heard Way Yes, I had no idea how big of a following they had already garnered, and deservedly so. The inspirations for this band are as interesting as the songwriting is. The beach rhythms are also undeniably hooking when paired with throwback influences like the Talking Heads and other 80s new wave as well as the almost yodeling quality of Glenn Davis’s voice you cannot help but want more.  

Hearing his voice warbling on the opening song of the set to a solo acoustic performance caught everyone in the room’s attention. As the background noise faded, the song slowly crescendoed, bringing in the two percussionists and guitarist. Seeing a standing drum kit positioned front and center with Max Lewis hypnotically entranced in the groove was quite fun. Max and Tim sharing percussion in a four-piece band that also occasionally used electronic beats should inform you that this is a drum band with a guitar problem.

When it was mentioned to me how dark the the songs were, it took me a minute to register the truth of the statement. The the beach music side of the writing can be deceptive, but the lyrics and tone are deep and seem to come back to topics like broken love and death often. The quirkiness of the performances set against the seriousness of the subjects fascinated me.

Even though you may not get to see them live any time soon, you can still buy Tuna Hair on vinyl at local record shops and digital content is available on its Bandcamp page and website.